Stryker, Zimmer Biomet settle poaching spat

Stryker (NYSE:SYK) and Zimmer Biomet (NYSE:ZBH) agreed to bury the hatchet in a lawsuit Stryker brought accusing its orthopedics rival of poaching sales reps.

Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Stryker sued Zimmer Biomet in March in the U.S. District Court for Southern Texas, alleging “concerted and deliberate unfair competition, improper use of Stryker’s confidential and trade secret information, and improper solicitations of Stryker’s customers and employees” in the Houston area.

Zimmer Biomet allegedly enticed a pair of Stryker reps, Andrew Ruggles and Carson Combs, to set up a rival foot & ankle business targeting Stryker customers in breach of their non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, according to the lawsuit. The ex-reps “are now moving the business of those Stryker customers to defendants and utilizing Stryker confidential and trade secret information,” Stryker alleged.

Ruggles quit Stryker in November 2016 and allegedly recruited Combs to follow suit just 4 days later, according to the suit, which asked Judge Gray Miller for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction barring Zimmer Biomet, Ruggles and Combs from further alleged violations, according to court documents.

Zimmer Biomet in May moved to dismiss the case, arguing that although Stryker’s claims are pegged to Ruggles and Combs, it inexplicably failed to name them as defendants. In a June 7 response, Stryker maintained that no law requires them to name the duo, because it’s going after Zimmer Biomet and not them.

Yesterday Judge Gray Miller dismissed the case without prejudice, giving the companies 60 days to finalize the settlement agreement, according to court documents.

By Brad Perriello | MassDevice

Image Credit: Brad Perriello/MassDevice

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About Peter Coffaro 704 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by MedReps.com as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager and Distributor. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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